Sefaria is a living library of Jewish texts with the goal of making our textual tradition accessible to the entire Jewish people. We are always expanding our collection and currently offer free digital access to several thousand texts, biblical to modern. In addition to providing texts in their original language, we also offer a large, growing collection of translations, with more than a dozen languages currently represented in the library.
Where do translations on Sefaria come from?
Most translations come to the library through agreements with publishers. We also have some translations that are freely available in the public domain, and we’re grateful to receive contributed translations from scholars and Sefaria users. Occasionally, we commission respected translators to create high-quality translations for the library, such as our ongoing English Midrash Rabbah project.
How does Sefaria choose which translations to add to the library?
With such a large community of learners, we aim to offer a variety of translations when possible so that you can find a version that suits your needs. We also consider demand, cost, pedagogical value, and licensing. (Sefaria prioritizes texts that publishers will release with an open license for wide use, but we do carry some texts with copyright restrictions.) Sometimes it can take months or years to acquire a translation, but it’s worth the effort to bring you an array of study options.
What is Sefaria’s philosophy on translation?
Translations are an integral part of our collection. Learners come to Sefaria every day to read texts in languages they understand, to compare interpretations, to teach, and more.
As a library, we offer a vast array of resources, which are used by hundreds of thousands of people each month. We recognize that different people will gravitate towards different materials in the library, and we hope to serve your Jewish learning with the best materials for you.
How can I view and switch translations on Sefaria?
There are two ways to view all translation options for a given text on Sefaria.
- Once you've opened a text, click on any passage to bring up the resource panel. Then tap 'Translations,' scroll to view your options, and click to select your preferred translation. On a mobile device there is an extra step: After selecting a translation, click the new translated text on your screen and then tap 'Open Version.'
- In a text's main table of contents, select the 'Versions' tab to view a full list of available languages and editions.
Do translations on Sefaria ever get revised to reflect updates in scholarship?
Generally, we don’t make changes to translations we acquire. As publishers create their own updated editions, we may acquire new versions for the library (for example, we carry Tanakh translations by The Jewish Publication Society from 1917, 1985, 2016, and 2023). In certain cases we fix obvious typos, and we invite users to point out text errors or to make their own updates to community translations.
What options are there for texts without translations on Sefaria?
We are always looking for ways to add more translations. While we currently don’t have any tools to translate texts automatically, here are a few ways you can help us fill in these gaps:
- Add your own original translation through the resource panel.
- Fill out our text request form.
- Make a monthly or one-time donation to Sefaria to increase our budget for acquiring more translations.
Our hope is that, eventually, you’ll be able to find whatever texts you’re looking for in a format that’s accessible for you. It’s a big task to build a “complete” Jewish library, so we appreciate our community’s support in helping us make progress every day!